Miami-Dade this week waived permit requirements for residential fences damaged by Hurricane Irma, allowing homeowners to fix the fences without approvals provided the structures aren’t surrounding pools.
The waiver only applies to properties governed by county zoning rules in Miami-Dade’s unincorporated areas. That covers about half of the county’s homes, but does not apply to properties within city limits, since cities have their own zoning procedures.
The rule, approved by the County Commission on Tuesday, lets homeowners repair fences without permits, providing they use the same materials, design and layout as the pre-Irma fence. Fence permits start at $130 and increase based on the size of the fence being repaired.
There’s a major exception to the waiver: fences surrounding pools. Miami-Dade took some heat for code inspectors issuing homeowners notices about destroyed pool fences needing to be repaired the day after Irma struck South Florida on Sept. 10. Mayor Carlos Gimenez noted the notices weren’t citations and said the county was not enforcing code restrictions for 30 days after the storm.
The commission action goes a step further in waiving the non-pool fence permit requirements. County rules already exempt fence repairs under $1,000 from permit requirements if the fence was wood or concrete. Without the commission action, chain-link fences, and fences made of metal and other materials, would require a permit if more than 50 percent was damaged.
Commissioner Rebeca Sosa proposed the waiver, which was approved unanimously. In a press release, she said the waiver will be temporary until the commission can adopt more detailed rules at a future meeting. Sosa described the waiver as a way to “help our residents repair and rebuild their fences faster.”